Mariam Amiri

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jim Butterfield

Second Advisor

Dr. Priscilla Lambert

Third Advisor

Dr. Mahendra Lawoti


Informal institutions, women's rights in Afghanistan

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



In political science a lot of attention is given to institutions and their role in shaping behaviors in a polity and society. In this thesis I examine the conflict between formal and informal institutions. I believe in many societies informal institutions play a major role in shaping political behavior. In Afghanistan these informal institutions can easily undermine formal institutions. Many of the studies that are conducted about informal institutions in Afghanistan have prized them for being capable of dealing with different problems. However, it is also important to find out whether the way they deal with different problems and solve those problems is fair to all or not. The problem in Afghan society is that formal institutions (de jure) are implemented to promote equal rights for all citizens, men and women, but in practice (de facto) women are oppressed, suffer discrimination and do not enjoy the same liberty that men do. Here it is argued that the informal institutions rooted in patriarchal traditions promote discrimination and violence against women.